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Protest planned for Jeanette Vizguerra, community leader and mom facing deportation

Categories: Immigration

jeanette1.jpg
Rights for All People
Jeanette Vizguerra.
Jeanette Vizguerra, who has lived in Colorado for more than fourteen years, is the mother of three citizen children, owns a small business and is very involved in her community. She also lives in this country illegally and faces her final deportation court date on Monday at 8:30 a.m. But before that happens, Rights for All People (RAP), an organization dedicated to providing equality and justice for immigrants, will hold a protest, saying it would be cruel to deport a productive citizen whose family relies on her. The protest will take place on Monday at 7:30 a.m. outside Denver's Federal Courthouse.

Vizguerra, who was born in Mexico, owns a moving and cleaning company with her husband, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2000. The couple was able to battle the cancer into remission with radiation and chemotherapy and spent about $25,000 on treatment without public assistance. When the cancer resurfaced three years ago, Vizguerra took on another job to support her husband.

"The big concern for the family is she's been part of the income," says Liz Hamel, a Rights for All People organizer who has worked with Vizguerra for ten years. "It really would be devastating to not only the emotional security of the family, but you also have the economic devastation on the family and children that don't have their mother anymore."

Vizguerra's children are ages seven, five and three months. Jeanette and her husband will face a heart-wrenching decision if she is deported.

"The family is preparing for that reality," says Hamel. "Because the children are citizens of the United States and safety issues in Mexico, she and her husband feel they would be safer and have better opportunities here. The family would be separated, including a three-month-old baby. This is not just about one person, it's about an entire family that's getting separated."

It would also cause a woman to separate from an Aurora community she has contributed to greatly. Vizguerra worked with SEIU Local 105, a labor union, where she was an organizer advocating for equal wages and fighting against sexual harassment. Through RAP she met with elected officials, police officers and city council members. She also trained other leaders for the organization. Vizguerra participated in the Aurora Neighborhood Watch Program and volunteered at her children's schools.

"Jeanette has contributed so much to Colorado, her community and this country," says Hamel. "She's an American. We're calling to stop not only the deportation of Jeanette and others like her who are not a threat to society by any means, but are giving back to society, paying taxes and paying into our public system, but we're also calling for a comprehensive reform of our immigration system."

When Vizguerra was pulled over two years ago for expired tags, the first question the police officer asked, according to Hamel, was, 'Are you legal or illegal?' She was arrested for not having a driver's license and spent time in jail before being transferred to an immigration detention center. For a period of forty days, the only time she could see her children was while she was wearing handcuffs. She was released on an immigration bond and has been working with an immigration lawyer since.

For RAP, Vizguerra's case goes beyond her and her family. While an otherwise upstanding citizen, she is an illegal immigrant.

"Our viewpoint is that the laws themselves are broken," says Hamel. "People from bipartisan leadership know that our immigration system is broken. Even for people who follow all the rules and try to go through the legal ways to become a citizen here in the U.S., it can take up to twenty or more years. We have a huge backlog and laws that have not been reformed in over twenty years. For us, we feel that immigrants are Americans.

"We hope to involve people who aren't immigrants who deeply care about this issue," she continues. "So many people don't know that there is a detention center here in Aurora. There are people who don't have a violent criminal history that are being deported right now. So we really want to challenge those stereotypes and provide the community view of what immigration is. We hope to stand with Jeanette, but also give light to other issues. She wants to do this because she wants to make a difference for other people. She's one of the most selfless people I know, so I want to show her courage in doing this and hope that other people can see what kind of person she is and what kind of people this is affecting."

Rights for All People is coordinating with Colorado Progressive Coalition, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Coloradans for Immigrant Rights and Interfaith Worker Justice to provide speakers, prayer and compelling visuals before Vizguerra's hearing.

More from our Immigration archive: "Gay immigration: What is it like to be gay in El Salvador? Report to the U.N. details the horrors."

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24 comments
Deportillegal
Deportillegal

It is sad that she has placed her family in this situation by not following the proper procedure to become a citizen. The pain her family is going through now rests not on the governments antiquated immigrant system, but on her for failing to adhere to it. If you cannot follow the laws here you are not welcome. Please explain to me how as an illegal immigrant living here for 14 years she managed to pay 14 years worth of income tax, social security, and medicare? While it is commendable that she is an entrepreneur and has a successful business, it is deplorable to think of the laws she circumvented to do so. I welcome all productive people of any nationality to come and legally apply for residency in the United States, if you are refused it is our loss, however if you enter illegally you are not entitled to any rights because you haven't been caught yet.

Snoopyxoxoxo
Snoopyxoxoxo

Im so tierd of all of this i wish that we wern't our own worst enemys i know what it is like living in fear because my husbend is not here leagaly, even saying that out loud feels wrong like your being stalked or targeted, it's not any ones falt that ppl are trying to servive like migrating animals you have to find the best place to grow your family! This lady has done nothing to any one but be good to our cummnity and this is how us as americans treat her id like to thank Obama for lieing to so many familys i voted for him to see change and all i see is sarrow from familys being ripped apart!!! Cant we every stop and just consider any one else 

Nanceyl
Nanceyl

 We spite ourselves and hurt everyone involved when we act out of prejudice and ignore justice

Clipper965
Clipper965

I think Jeanette is a hardworking mother and businesswoman.  Im curious as to her business. Are her employees paid at least the minimum wage?.  Many of these kinds of illegal alien enterprises can under-cut busineses that have to pay workers more and provide worker's comp and a host of other benefits.  Does she earn enough to be self-supporting.  I greatly respect her for over -coming so many obstacles to achieve what she has but can also understand this country is overwhelmed with poor migrants from around the world and we simply cannot absorb them all.  If I were her I would get one of her workers to manage her business. If it is reasonably profitable she can live better in Mexico with that money in a nice city/area. 

saffo
saffo

Jeanette, the whole community's thoughts and prayers are with you.

Bilbo
Bilbo

I have neighbors who used to be illegal aliens.  Instead of squandering their income on bud lite and marlboro reds, they saved their $$.  They used that savings to hire an immigration attorney and apply for their citizenship.  They are now citizens.  Sometimes priorities are everything........

Bilbo
Bilbo

In 14 years she couldnt get her ass down to the immigration office and apply for citizenship? 

Jude
Jude

 Jeanette, I hope for Monday that the Lord will enlighten the mind and heart of the judge! I hope with my sincere prayers that you may stay with your children and continue making your community great. 

libby
libby

She knew 14 years that she illegally entering this country. When anyone breaks the law, there are consequences. Her time is up. She's had 14 years living in my country. Now, go home

Duranlisa
Duranlisa

 My heart goes out to Jeanette and her family.  I want to live in a country that supports its families and children. We need to fix this broken immigration system!

BajaRat
BajaRat

Why has it taken so long to deport this socialist scumbag? Get on with it!

Rosietania
Rosietania

u dnt knw wat she has gone through or the reason y she didnt go down there to aply for a citizenship she spent all her money paying for the treatment of her husband wich by the way is my mother n father before u open ur mouth u needa clearly read u fukin asshole like i said if i had u in fron of me you would be dead.... watch wat the fuk u say

Guest
Guest

Do you truly believe people can fix their status by walking into an office and filling out a form? If that were the case, Jeanette and millions of other would have done so. We need to change the laws in order to allow her to do this. That's what immigration reform is. 

Jude
Jude

It is immoral that this country benefits from immigrant people like Jeanette through their work and contribution. Use them and through them away? Is this the American way? Shame on all the heartless comments that have been made! For once remove your prejudice and walk a mile in her shoes! 

Rosietania
Rosietania

scumbag ur mother u fukin son of a bitch u fukin dare to talk like that about my mom i swear if i had u in front of me id stab u to death

saffo
saffo

the first "illegal immigrants" were the pilgrams. deport them.

Jude
Jude

Scumbag? You call an honorable woman and mother this? Your words show the kind of person you are.  

Los4x4tattoo
Los4x4tattoo

Freakin aliens, always wanting to stab some one. Apple didn't fall far from the tree. I give you a couple more years and you will be in jail costing tax payers or with three kids milking the system.

Chowchilla
Chowchilla

Speaking on behalf of the country (as you seem prepared to do), we wouldn't knowingly benefit from Jeanette's "work and contribution" if we knew she was here illegally.  But let's not forget the whole transaction--as to her work, she was getting paid, wasn't she?  As to her contributions, along with any good she may have done, she also contributed a violation of the law.

David D Hall
David D Hall

I am taking for granted that this is the 7 year old? Nice that you have such a great handle on the English language

Deport them all!
Deport them all!

Take a look at the inside of an illegal's mind. Or what passes for one.

David D Hall
David D Hall

And at such a young age is this the 7yr or the 5yr old? The parents must teach them to hate very early in life. Or I guess it is just the terrorist in them since they want our country.

Rosietania
Rosietania

ur right she was gettin paid but if you knew your laws for the income taxes they dont refund what their supposse to refund they only return less than half of what theyve worked for so technically they work to pay the goverment stupid ass read u piece of shit ass idiot

saffo
saffo

you don't want people coming here? how about abandoning the neoliberal economic policies, and US support for wars and repressive dictatorships that destroy communities in latin american and force people to move here in the first place.

corporations profit off of the criminalization of undocumented folks. these are the same corporations responsible for the polices that destroy people's home communities. if undocumented people were to actually stop coming here, our economy woudl crumble; the US economy is dependent on exploiting undocumentend labor. it's also dependent on profiting off of incarcerating people, huge private prison corporations such as GEO profit enormously off of racist attacks on undocumented people.

many of the people you call "illegal" are indigenous-- they've been here for millenia before white people showed up and carved up these illegal borders.

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